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Stuart Dobson (M)
Melbourne, AU
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We all change. The future is emergent and dynamic, evolving with our minds and our society. Technology plays a fundamental part in this evolution, this evolution of complexity. So I ask, how does technology affect society? How does technology affect our minds and then society in turn? How does our economic and political system affect society and technology? What are the products of this evolution – and what are our goals?
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    Why are there no jobs when there is plenty of work to be done?


    If there was ever an indication that the current capitalist system is fundamentally flawed, it would be the severe shortage of viable jobs in a world full of problems.

    Jobs exist because a task needs to be done. But jobs are a drain on every enterprise, so they are avoided unless absolutely necessary. When they do exist, they are allocated the absolute minimum of funds for the enterprise to remain profitable. This alone makes jobs scarce but this scarcity is currently being exacerbated by increased automation and a move towards capital equipment. However, an even bigger threat to jobs is the fundamental mechanism of enterprise.

    The measure of all enterprise is in financial output. While the benefit to the individual (the customer) might be important in order for a product to be desirable in the marketplace, the overall societal benefit is usually no more than a fortunate side effect. The priority for pharmaceutical companies is to sell as many drugs as possible, not to cure as many people as possible. In this and many other cases, societal benefit is actually detrimental to the company’s financial benefit.

    The problem is that if there is no profit to be made, then the motivation for solving a problem is greatly reduced. While many endeavours are made outside of enterprise, such undertakings usually rely on the mechanism of “one way funding” – such as charity or government funding. Money and resources are poured into a black hole, while the benefits yielded are not directly related to the input. In a capitalist world, this mechanism is an abomination. In a community focussed society, it might be the only option.

    Alternatively such organisations can rely on the bastardisation that is advertising for funding. Yet this is always detrimental to the product and is almost always completely irrelevant to the ambitions of the enterprise – often even causing a conflict of interests.

    Distorted Values
    Despite this obvious distortion of values, we continue with this broken system. How can we be proud of a society where someone processing invoices can earn a living, while a musician starves? Where a footballer lives in a mansion while a nurse strips to feed her children? Where a CEO earns a fortune for dismantling a company while the low paid workers, those who actually produce something, are left out on the street? This injustice can only arise from a distorted value system – and it will always remain as long as inequality is allowed.

    The Danger of Forced Necessity
    Despite the inequality, the necessity of employment for survival causes people to be very defensive about jobs. They believe working is their god-given right and watch out anyone who might try and take their job – especially if they believe that person has less of a right to a job than them – ie; they are an immigrant.

    As unemployment rises, which it will due to technology and our reaching the limits of our resources, we can no longer continue the producer > consumer mechanism. Jobs cannot remain obligatory for survival. If nothing else – the economy itself will collapse! With no workers earning money, there will be nobody to buy the goods produced.

    Yet this is of little concern to corporations who’s only concern is short term profit, nor to the out of work father. So this makes it extremely difficult to address the problems and discuss alternatives, but we have to. We can no longer afford to allow enterprise to be the driving force of progress.

    We are signing our own death warrants by allowing our survival to be directly linked to our employment.

    The Alternative
    The bottom line is that people should not need jobs. This system where working is essential for survival causes impoverishment for those who cannot work. It also only creates jobs that are are based on profit, yet profit is not always directly associated with improving society.

    We need a different kind of system, a system with three prerequisites.


    • The basics of survival are provided for every individual – so work is not essential.

    • The purpose of enterprise is to improve society, not create profit.

    • Jobs do not impede enterprise, they empower it.




    This system would create only satisfying jobs that are beneficial for society. There would be no pointless jobs because nobody would do them.

    There is plenty of work to do to improve society. There are jobs for everyone, and they do not have to be imperative.

    You might think it sounds impossible, ridiculous even, that we should have a system of only voluntary work.

    But it is ridiculous that one can waste their life slaving in an office while millions starve.

    Sat, Oct 1, 2011  Permanent link
    Categories: work, economics, Jobs
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    Comments:


    CoCreatr     Sun, Oct 2, 2011  Permanent link
    Let me synapse this with a recent post by Seth Godin

    The forever recession (and the coming revolution)

    There are actually two recessions:

    The first is the cyclical one, the one that inevitably comes and then inevitably goes. There's plenty of evidence that intervention can shorten it, and also indications that overdoing a response to it is a waste or even harmful.

    The other recession, though, the one with the loss of "good factory jobs" and systemic unemployment—I fear that this recession is here forever.

    Why do we believe that jobs where we are paid really good money to do work that can be systemized, written in a manual and/or exported are going to come back ever? The internet has squeezed inefficiencies out of many systems, and the ability to move work around, coordinate activity and digitize data all combine to eliminate a wide swath of the jobs the industrial age created.


    More...
    Autotelic     Mon, Oct 3, 2011  Permanent link
    something to think about when sizing up this economic mess, I think with the whole baby-boomer generation starting to retire in 2007, the big-shots in this country quickly realized how big of an impact their retirements would have on not only on Wall street, but how expensive its going to be to replace them. Did anyone really believe Wall street was just goin to let that generation just "cash out"? between the year 2000 and 2020 some 30 million baby boomers are expected to be leaving the workforce.

    They also explain that there are only 43 million Gen Xers (the post boomer generation) available to take the place of the approximately 76 million boomers. There simply are “not enough young workers to fill the void of those departing. http://www.klbcommunityconsulting.com/ImpactsofAgingBabyboomersontheCivilServiceWorkforce.pdf


    when you step back and think about this financial mess wall street is in, you can see they collapsed it on themselves, pulling their own money out, leaving the older workforce with nothing to take out EXACTLY when they were starting to retire, and forcing them into many more years of work....


    Sonicport Mirror     Sat, Oct 8, 2011  Permanent link
    We are living this work existence today in our lives but we do it because the pain makes us stronger and alive, we are a moth feedbacking against the office rules and we are depending on the UK human rights act to survive, because it operates above the rules of the office. It is something that we will not allow be taken from us, as our chosen speciality subject is freedom.

    Our task is unlimited clean energy with healing and we must defend this hope by working hard, but conserve some of ourselves for the ancient humans. We are looking at different textures of infinity and to understand any is to add to a peer to peer pallet which we can use freely to travel between A and B.

    Good luck and easy travels. I look forward again to a world without borders.
    nom the puppet     Sat, Oct 8, 2011  Permanent link
    i will do my part by eating trash and pooping food.

    fair wages forever
    CoCreatr     Sun, Oct 9, 2011  Permanent link
    @ nom the puppet: Very good, admire your courage. Want to do some big shot stuff? Start here with Worms Cutting Cost.
    nom the puppet     Sun, Oct 9, 2011  Permanent link
    @cocreatr: neat
     
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